If you have been arrested for any sort of crime, you likely realize that your future is at stake. Whether law enforcement believes you to be guilty of petty theft crimes, computer fraud or even murder; choosing to hire a criminal defense attorney is the most important step for you to make. Criminal charges, no matter the severity can have a life-altering effect on your life, whether it means having to come up with extreme fines to the court, or spending months on probation and even years behind bars; it is worth fighting if it means saving your future.
When addressing the issue of assault, it is very easy for individuals to think of the many television cops and legal shows we have watched. And while some may give a fair representation, it is very possible that a person will not have a full understanding. Assault, in a nutshell, means that a person purposefully used violence towards another with the intent to harm them in some way. When dealing with assault charges, there are generally four different degrees for these charges that determine the severity of the crime and the subsequent consequences with the law.
First Degree Assault is the most severe of the four. This means that the person responsible for the actions is being accused of a felony charge. The first degree is the category for which suspects not only intended to cause extreme harm to the victim but were also successful in doing so. This includes any disfiguring as well as threatening others with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill or cause serious harm, and actually hurting them. Even within the category of first-degree assault charges, there is still going be a difference between aggravated and mitigated charges to determine the level of severity. For example, an aggregated assault is believed to be the most severe and more often involves the use of a deadly weapon. Under this category also fall sexual relations with underage children, among others. Mitigated generally means that there is less severe force, etc. While there is no set in stone consequences, as each case is unique, those convicted of first-degree assault may spend between 10-16 years in prison.
Second Degree Assault is the next level down, though it is still considered a felony charge. Those accused of this level of crime generally fall under the category of having caused some level of harm to another person using a dangerous weapon, even if their actions were reckless as opposed to intentional. A person with any intent to cause harm falls under this category if they actually did commit an act leading to injury. Drugging people without consent, hindering law enforcement officials, and others fall under this category as well. As stated, every case is unique though the consequences may be between 5 and 8 years in prison.
Third Degree Assault is much less serious as the court then considers it to be first-degree misdemeanor charges as opposed to a felony. If the accused either knowingly or recklessly caused some form of harm to another person it may fall under this category. Those who are convicted of this category of crime will generally spend an average of 2 years in prison.
Fourth Degree Assault is considered to be anything that does not fall under the first three categories and can result in a variety of different consequences as determined by the court. No matter the situation you are in, if you have been accused of any category of assault charges, do not hesitate in contacting a trusted and experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman; we will fight aggressively for you!